New complaint calls for investigation into whether Scott accepted and New Republican Super PAC made illegal in-kind contributions by running ads to benefit Rick Scott’s campaign inside the 120 day period following Scott’s chairmanship of the Super PAC
In April, ECU filed a complaint against Scott for coordinating with the New Republican Super PAC and raising soft money to skirt federal contribution limits
As detailed in the Tampa Bay Times, End Citizens United today filed a FEC complaint against Governor Rick Scott, his Senate campaign and New Republican PAC, for illegal coordination resulting in excessive in-kind campaign contributions to Scott’s Senate campaign from New Republican PAC. New Republican PAC ran television ads within the 120 day period following Scott’s tenure as chairman of the Super PAC, likely relying upon non-public, strategic campaign information obtained through Scott’s involvement with the PAC.
As detailed in ECU’s first complaint against Rick Scott in April 2018, Scott used his position as chair of the New Republican PAC, a federal Super PAC, to skirt campaign finance laws by fundraising more than $1.1 million in soft money without formally “testing the waters” for a Senate bid. The complaint also details that Scott hired multiple former campaign staffers and consultants for New Republican PAC.
While Scott formally declared his candidacy for U.S. Senate on April 9, reports show that Scott began paying for political strategy consulting, video production and survey research for a potential Senate run in January 2018, strongly suggesting that Scott was “actively formulating potential campaign strategy and preparing communications when he was still chair of the PAC,” as cited in the new complaint. On May 3, twenty-four days after Scott’s official campaign announcement and less than two months after he was still publicly identified as chair of New Republican PAC, the Super PAC released an ad campaign attacking Senator Bill Nelson, Scott’s opponent. In doing so, Rick Scott accepted and the New Republican PAC made illegal in-kind coordinated contributions by running ads that likely used strategic campaign information obtained through Scott’s involvement with the PAC.
As stated in the FEC complaint:
“The FEC has opined that a 120-day period is required before knowledge of the “campaigns, strategy, plans, needs, and activities” of a candidate is no longer “material” to communications produced in support of that candidate’s candidacy…the PAC’s abrupt transition to supporting Scott’s candidacy less than 120 days after Scott stepped down as chair indicates that any communications funded by the PAC likely relied upon non-public, material information about Scott’s candidacy.”
“We all know that the New Republican PAC has always been a shadow campaign for Rick Scott’s Senate run. Again, he’s been caught breaking the rules in an apparent attempt to raise more money than he’s allowed to under the law,” said Tiffany Muller, president of End Citizens United. “Rick Scott knows he can’t win the support of Florida voters on the merits, so he’s trying to rig the system to benefit his own political ambitions.”
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